How about Stinging Nettles?

Gentle Reader,

If I could tell you why some days I wake up with no pain whatsoever– like today– and catalog the food I ate yesterday, the stretches I made, the delicious sleep, the supplements, the aerobic activity—why surely I would have a recipe for a pain free life.  I cannot. I cross country skied on Wednesday; stayed up too late fussing over numbers; ate on the run, albeit extra nutritious homemade vegetable-drawer soup; got tied up in knots over the traffic delays.  You know the drill.  I took no herbal pain pills today and no Aleve.  Instead of analyzing the good things in life that seem to happen randomly, I suggest robust all out celebration and thanksgiving.

I will offer you some spicy advice that came to me from a good friend who faithfully reads these pages and a few others from the web which she passes on to me when relevant.  I especially appreciated her reprint from NaturalNews.  Since I harvested stinging nettles on my walk Tuesday, being careful to wear gardening gloves, I am eager to eat them and see what they do for me. See the article below for details.  Stinging nettles are abundant in the northwest right now, small plants with tender leaves.  All the sting goes away with cooking.  If you try it, let me know how it goes. It’s inexpensive to try these natural remedies from the kitchen cupboard, way-side and grocery store.

Relieve arthritis and joint pain with home remedies

 (NaturalNews) Homemade remedies for arthritis, gout and other joint pain are never farther away than the kitchen cupboard or the refrigerator. Joint disease is the result of various causes ranging from aging, to over-use and autoimmune diseases that attack joints and surrounding tissue. Pharmaceutical companies have designer drugs that reduce inflammation to help relieve pain and often cause significant side effects. The ingredients for homemade remedies can be purchased at grocery and health food stores and many may already be stocked in your pantry, offering significant savings over costly pharmaceutical drugs.

Anti-Inflammatory triad

On their own, turmeric, ginger and bromelain work as effective anti-inflammatory agents. Each works to relieve pain, stiffness and swelling. In combination, they provide a powerhouse of natural medicine. The three substances are synergistic to one another, each boosting the other’s effectiveness…

Stinging nettles

Homemade remedies from stinging nettles are numerous. A traditional herbal treatment, stinging nettles are used to relieve symptoms of joint pain, arthritis and gout. A tea can be made from the dried herb or the fresh leaves. Use caution and wear gloves if harvesting fresh nettles. As their name implies, the little hairs on the plant can cause serious skin reactions including hives and other painful outbreaks. These are neutralized when heated into tea or when the plant is dried. The tea can be consumed hot or cold or used as a topical soak for painful joints.

Cayenne pepper

Found in most spice cupboards and known for its spicy-hot taste, cayenne makes an excellent topical ointment that relieves joint pain. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper, tricks the brain by causing local irritation to skin where signals then travel along nerve pathways, distracting the brain from the true source of pain. In time, repeated topical applications of cayenne pepper will reduce arthritis pain significantly. To make topical homemade remedies, mix 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper with 1/2 cup of cocoa butter, lanolin or coconut oil. Apply it directly to the sore joint. Alternatively, mix 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and add to a foot bath with warm water. Soak hands or feet for 20 minutes, then rinse. Cayenne pepper can cause skin irritation.  (I have not tried this, so go forward at your own risk.)

Pectin Grape Juice

Homemade remedies made from fruit pectin and grape juice can relieve joint pain, and reduce swelling and stiffness. Pectin is found in the cells of many plants and acts as a thickener in preparations such as jellies. Grape juice is loaded with antioxidants, among them, anthocyanins, noted for its effect on reducing inflammation. Pectin regulates the flow of fluids in plant cells and is believed to act to relieve fluid buildup in the joints of arthritis sufferers. The best pectin is found at the health food stores and is free of MSG and other additives. Mix 1/2 cup of juice with 2 tablespoons pectin. Add water if needed and drink twice daily for 6 weeks. Reduce the frequency as symptoms disappear.

Sources for this article include:

DermNetNZ: Capsaicin
http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/capsaicin.html

Holistic Online: Tumeric
http://www.holisticonline.com

Science Daily: Turmeric Prevents Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis, Bone Loss
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030071152.htm

MotherNature.com: Arthritis and Alternative Medicine
http://www.mothernature.com/Library/bookshelf/Books/42/1.cfm

Joint-Pain.com: Natural Arthritis Treatments
http://www.joint-pain.com/natural-arthritis-treatments.html

The People’s Pharmacy: Pectin for Arthritis Pain
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2009/08/31/pectin-for-arthritis-pain/

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

Betsy

Betsy Bell’s Health4U

206 933 1889

www.HiHoHealth dot com

www.TiredNoMore dot com

 

 

Go ahead and dig in the garden

Dear Gentle Reader,

With the strains of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons setting the tone, spring has finally come to Seattle. While so many of you are enjoying unseasonably warm weather, we have seen snow flurries, much rain and the thermometer has not climbed into the upper 50’s. Until the last couple of days.  The parking lots at the nurseries were full this weekend.  I came home with 11 bags of top soil and 6 roses.  Getting these in the ground usually means an aching body.  My friend, after a day of digging, complained that she couldn’t bend down to tie her shoes.  What’s a person to do who nurses osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis?

Here are some suggestions:

On your hands and knees.  Perhaps you, like me, are most comfortable crawling around on your hands and knees.  My friend, catching sight of my knee pads hanging from the wall, asked what sort of art object that was.  Those are my knee pads.  I have them hung right by the back door so I grab them when I head outside to do a gardening chore, however small or brief. If they are hidden away in some garden shed, you won’t put them on.  You’ll be in the garden and you’ll bend over to pull a weed and there goes the back.

A garden stool  I love my garden stool made of sturdy plastic. Upright I can sit on it to work in the barrels and containers, harvest pool beans and fava beans.  Inverted, I can kneel on it and use the legs as handles to lift me up.

Stretching i didn’t mention this first because I stretch everyday first thing in the morning, first on the Back2Life machine and then a few Feldenkrais hip opener moves followed by yoga down dog, runner’s lunge and plank.  Then while the oatmeal cooks, the seated routine with Jennifer Kreis. I blogged about Jennifer’s seating wake up exercises last Feb. 12, Yoga and Arthritis. I just checked her website: The DVD I love so much is now part of a set of 4 and they are currently discounted to $29.95.

Time limit  Don’t over do it.  The minute I sense a strain, I stop.  Manana es otro dia.  Tomorrow is another day.

I found this delightful forum on gardening which I’d like to share with you.  Enjoy the comments of these women as they share how they keep their bodies moving. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/accessible/msg091943101715.html  Together we will achieve more, and more comfortably.

Thanks for reading, and please send your suggestions so we can learn from your techniques.

Be well, Do Well and Keep Moving,

Betsy

Betsy Bell’s Health4U

206 933 1889

www.HiHohealth.com

I enthusiastically forster a person’s business development in the health and wellness field.

It comes down to what we eat

Gentle Reader,

A friend sent me a TED talk by Dr.Terry Wahls  on MS this past week.  In the 5 minute screening she recounts her productive life as a research scientist up to the debilitating onset of MS.  Seeking the best care medical professionals had to offer, her condition worsened.  Driven by her inquiring mind to know as much as she could about her disease, she began to experiment with different foods and supplements.  As her condition improved, she increased her dependence on whole plant foods, greens, reds, yellows, blues, purples and lessened or stopped eating altogether all refined foods, meats, dairy, sugars, grains.  Exercise became possible.  Brain function and mobility returned to better than normal.  All drug intake stopped.  Take a minute to watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc

Arthritis caused by spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis is not Multiple Sclerosis.  I realize this. I would challenge anyone suffering from the pain and loss of mobility caused by arthritis to eat the diet Dr. Wahls describes and discover how much this pain lessens and mobility increases.  Every other system in the body improves with this diet.

Now, most people will not be able to eat this way day in and day out.  I don’t. For instance, yesterday I ate 1 meal on the run, getting off for choir practice with a protein shake in my car.  The next two meals I ate in the company of church members, lunch with a homeless community meal; dinner with the group of people I traveled with to Nicaragua in February.  My defense is supplementation.  The Carotanoids, Flavonoids, the Liver Cleanse, the pre and pro biotic do their best to take the place of the diet Dr. Wahls recommends.  When I am home, like today, I will eat this way.

You may have decided this blog is becoming too much of a harangue about diet and lose interest in following my Monday posts.  Before you go, just think outside the box, if you will, and consider the value to your health of a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, natural oils and proteins from plant sources.  Think of the future you dream of with your children and grandchildren, of travel and gardening, of skiing and hiking, of knitting and sewing without pain well into your 80’s and even your 90’s.  What is the price you are willing to pay for a pain free future?  We pay for our health sooner or later.  A wholesome diet and supplementation put the money up front and could lessen the cost of healthcare in our later years.  Think about it.

I am too harsh and unforgiving.  I love you just the way you are and would gladly listen to your stories about ways you have found to alleviate your arthritis pain.  If you do experiment with the Dr. Wahls diet, let me know how it goes.  If you want to fill in the gaps with “foodlet” supplements that are guaranteed to make you feel better or your money back, let me know that, too.

Be well, Do Well and Keep Moving.

Betsy

BetsyBell’s Health4U

206 933-1889

Seattle, WA 98116

I

But I have to have an operation!

Gentle Reader,

I was talking with a guy last night who had to have an operation for his hip.  The osteoarthritis had become so advanced into the hip joint that various movements were impeded.  A long time supplement user, he fortified himself with various supplements in order to tolerate the operation well and heal quickly.  He is a little disappointed with how long it has taken to get back to a range of motion he hoped for.  He is apprehensive about the operation waiting for his other hip.

As a wellness advisor, I have counseled many people about steps they might take to prepare for surgery, all kinds of surgery, whether for cancer or for arthritis and bone issues.  I thought I would share with you the document I have developed over the years.  Please add your own thoughts if you have had surgery and found alternative supplementation and actions that have helped with healing.

Before Surgery:

Soy protein 2 x daily  (if taking chemo, increase to 3-4 x daily)

Vita-Lea 3-4/daily  (Shaklee’s multivitamin-mineral supplement)

Fiber Tablets or Mix:  Soluble fiber (bloodstream), insoluble fiber (gut)

Herb Lax:  Cleanses gut, blood

Vita. C Sustained Release w/bioflavinoids:  anti-inflammatory, new cells grow faster, immune system support, helps w/pain.  Take a minimum of 3-4 of 500 mg./da – up to 10,000 mg.  (gradually decrease since body has to adjust to excreting excess)

B-Complex:  aids in good digestion.  Depleted by stress.  Take 8/da – space out

Zinc:  Helps w/pain, healing, no more than 50-60 mg./day except when there is trauma like a cut or incision (up to 120 mg./da until healed).  Body can’t make new cells w/o zinc, protein, & C.

Immunity Formula I:  2-8/da (A proprietary Shaklee supplement to enhance the immune response.)

Carotomax:  Cleanses cells, reduces inflammation (swelling), makes mucous membranes healthy.  Especially helpful if using breathing machine.

Vitamin E:  Oxygenates cells, gets rid of toxins of anesthesia.

DO NOT take GLA, E, OmegaGuard (fish oil), Garlic or lecithin before surgery. Stop 1 week prior.

Alfalfa (vitamin K):  10-20/da to reduce bleeding during & after surgery.

Garlic:  Helps flora, antibacterial agent. Not before surgery as is a blood thinner.

NutriFeron:  Take 4 for 2 weeks. (A proprietary herbal blend that stimulates interferon production.)

OsteoMatrix:  Coats nerve endings, helps repair them quicker, helps you relax so you can sleep deeper (can take w/Gentle Sleep Complex). (This is Shaklee’s calcium product.)

Iron:  Need blood test to know if needed. (Shaklee’s comes with vitamin c to help absorption.)

After Surgery:

Performance:  Dilute more than usual, make ice chips out of it, & start taking slowly as soon as feel like it. (Shaklee’s rehydrating drink, perfectly balanced for absorption.)

Protein:  Take as soon as can drink but don’t feel nauseated.  Alternate with Physique. (Physique is Shaklee after workout maximize, excellent for healing sore muscles.)

Liver DTX: 2 at night (Shaklee’s detox milk thistle product to help restore normalcy after the medications of surgery.)

Stomach Soothing complex:  Helps calm digestive system if feeling queezy.  Made with peppermint and ginger, can be taken as a tablet or dissolved into hot water for tea.

Vita-Cal:  Helps reduce gas bubbles. (A chewable Shaklee calcium product)

Fiber:  Start w/very small amounts to start cleansing.  A Fiber Blend tablet or ¼ tsp. Fiber Blend.

Vitamin E 400+:  4-6/da.  Prevents blood clots, oxygenates.  Start slowly if high blood pressure is an issue.

Lecithin:  Helps build sheath around nerve endings which helps reduce pain. 6 daily

GLA:  Up to 6/da, anti-inflammatory. (Shaklee makes their GLA from borage oil for best absorption and least contamination)

Omega Guard (fish oil):  If you digest it well.

Alfalfa:  Diuretic, liver cleanser, reduces swelling, helps kidneys, etc. start working again. 20 daily

Herb-Lax:  Start slowly. Very helpful after surgery as elimination slows down so much from the anesthetic.  Take to the hospital.  From personal experience, this is super important.

Purified Water:  very important

B-Complex:  Promotes healing, increases energy level.

Ginseng:  Helps energy & supports adrenal glands.  (Shaklee’s CorEnergy)

Dandelion leaf:  Swelling & inflammation. (Not a Shaklee product)

Optiflora pills and powder is strongly recommended to rebuild the flora. 1 serving daily of this pre and pro biotic made by Shaklee

This is a tall order when you may not be used to taking so much stuff.

The minimum pre-op is Energizing Soy Protein,  Vita C, Optiflora, Vita lea Gold and Alfalfa

Post op:  Physique, Vita C, Vita E, Optiflora, Vita Lea Gold, Alfalfa, Herb lax, Lecithin.

I have gleaned this information primarily from Carol Dalton, a nurse practitioner in Colorado who, during her long practice, has found the Shaklee supplements to work best for her patients.  People who have followed this protocol have had remarkable healing and suffered the least from the trauma of surgery.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,

Betsy

BetsyBell’s Health4u

206 933 1889

http://www.HiHoHealth dot com

 

Yoga and arthritis

Gentle Reader,

My morning routine of lying on the floor, legs over the Back2Life machine, followed by several gentle yoga poses gets my body functioning.  I am then ready for the chair chi gong exercises, free weight lifting both standing and the lying on an ethafoam bolster and more stretches with a theraband, emphasizing the IT band with the leg slightly drawn high across the body.

Yoga, what I call the essence of Yoga, is at the core of all this early morning routine.  Mary Sue Corrado, my Pilates instructor, worried that I would overdue yoga and increase the damage to the L5 disc, that I would exacerbate the osteoarthritis slowly worsening at age 68.  I was training to climb Mt. Shasta, the 14000 ft peak in northern California.  I was part of a team climbing to raise money for The Breast Cancer fund, whose aim is to prevent breast cancer by advocating for the elimination of human causes of environmental pollution.  All the training materials recommended yoga for core strength.

If you would like to climb mt. Shasta with the best support you could imagine, get in touch with Connie George at the Breast Cancer Fund today and GO FOR IT!  It was a top experience of mine and could be yours.

I asked for a private appointment with an instructor at the 8 Limbs yoga studio, only a 1 mile walk from my house in West Seattle.  I needed a private lesson and assessment because I required guidance on how to modify any program to take care of my weaknesses and physical vulnerabilities.  The early morning class led by Amelia Gailey taught me how to center with my breathing, gently move to wake up the body and slowly build to a strong powerful series of poses.  Over the next 5 years, I practiced at 8 Limbs and gained tremendous core strength.  Pain management took care of itself.

A couple years ago, pain increased with a full yoga session involving all the asanas and I had to discontinue a full practice session.  I know that it would be beneficial for me to find a gentle class.  Instead I found Jennifer Kreis’s Hot Body/Cool Mind DVD and use her yoga routine, and seated chi gong for a morning workout.

My own exploration resulted in using yoga for pain management.  A recent study conducted by the Arthritis Foundation found that arthritis patients who maintained a regular routine of range-of-motion and low-resistance exercises (like yoga) showed less pain and better mood over the long term. Studies also show that people who start a regular routine of gentle yoga exercises are less likely to drop out than people who start other kinds of exercises for arthritis. Over 50% of people who start other kinds of arthritis exercise programs drop out after six months. Studies show that because yoga is more fun and more pleasurable, people are more likely to stick with it as an exercise for arthritis.

Whether you go to a studio (the very best) or learn a few moves you can do at home, yoga is an outstanding over all mind, body and spirit healer.

The following comes from the study.

Health benefits in general

“Yoga is more than an arthritis exercise. Yoga, which comes from a Sanskrit word that literally means ‘yoke’, is designed to bring all body systems into proper alignment so that the entire system functions correctly. Health benefits of regular yoga practice include increased energy, better posture, weight loss, deeper relaxation, an ongoing sense of well being and calm, greater flexibility, lower blood pressure, healthier diet, and increased alertness and mental functioning.”

“All yoga practice includes deep relaxation techniques and an emphasis on proper breathing, both of which have been shown to improve mood and reduce pain and anxiety. Many types of yoga teach healthy diet as well. Regular yoga practice is often recommended for heart and cancer patients because of its usefulness in a healing aid and an aid to relaxation.”


Benefits for arthritis

“Yoga is one of the very best exercises for arthritis because it directly treats the main problems arthritis sufferers face: pain, swelling, joint stiffness and lack or flexibility, depression, and anxiety. Yoga is very gentle, so arthritis patients can learn the stretches and poses at their own pace, making very gradual progress that improves well-being rather than causes pain. The long term effect is increased flexibility and reduced or eliminated pain in the joints, as well as better general health and mental functioning, and better, healthier sleep and positive mood.”

Finding a yoga class

“Yoga classes are widely offered across the U.S. at YMCAs and YWCAs, through hospitals and community centers, at health clubs, and at senior centers. The websitewww.yogaalliance.org maintains a list of yoga teachers and yoga centers where classes are offered. Arthritis sufferers will probably be able to locate a class specifically for people with disabilities or for older students, as these are becoming more and more popular as yoga becomes a more and more popular arthritis exercise.”

There is so much variety in the classes offered and you want a teacher who will understand your limitations and goals and help you not over due.  If you are a type “A” person, like me, you have to be careful not to overdo.  Not all instructors and classes are equal.  I have tried a lot of them and for my body’s problems; I need the slow, gentle routine with held poses rather than the faster movement of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.  Above all, if you have arthritis, please get a private consultation first before launching into a full scale yoga practice.  Learn what helps your particular condition and gently pursue it.

The Arthritis foundation of course recommends discussing with your doctor the use of yoga as an exercise.

“Your doctor probably has a list of resources and an opinion about where your needs would be best met. Ask for a note describing your physical limitation that you can give to the yoga instructor before starting your first class. Yoga instructors are trained to take disabilities and limitations into account and work individually with students at their own level, not matter how limited that may be.

“No matter how disabled you may from arthritis, or how much pain you may be experiencing, you will be able to start a gentle yoga routine based on your abilities and begin to move forward. That is why many yoga classes specifically for older and disabled persons are springing up through hospitals and wellness centers. Yoga is one of the few exercises for arthritis that absolutely anyone can do.”

A Happy Downward Facing Dog to you!

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving.  Betsy

PS:  I’ll be traveling in Nicaragua for the next 2 weeks.  Watch for a new posting after March 1st.

More Travel tips for a healthy back

Gentle Reader,

A month ago, reflecting on managing arthritis when traveling,  https://nowheelchair.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/pain-free-flying/, I promised more hints for healthy travel.  Here they are.

Overnight flights: these are the killers for a bad back, especially when you really do need that sleep to begin your first day functioning.  I can usually sleep with the help of a sleep aid, a neck pillow and a pillow for lumbar support.  You can buy these on line at Amazon I haven’t actually tried the one pictured, but will probably get it for my next big adventure mid February.  My granddaughter and I are off to Nicaragua with a group from Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral.  This is an all day trip and I chose a two stop itinerary.  You probably think I’m crazy.  I have found that shorter hops and getting up to change plans, actually helps maintain back health.  It is long flights that put the lower back at greatest risk.

We will probably be at the airport and through the check in and security screening with plenty of time to spare.  While waiting for my flight, I often lie on the floor in an out-of-the way spot and do some simple Feldenkrais and Pilates moves to line everything up before boarding.  Alicia will probably be totally embarrassed at her grandmother’s bizarre behavior.  It is easy to make a 13 yr. old uncomfortable!

Once we arrive at our hotel, I will do some simple stretches, mostly lying flat on my back before getting into bed.  Take the bed covering and lay it on the floor as a mat to protect yourself from the myriad leavings of many previous shoes and bare fee.  In the morning, find a chair without arms or the corner of the bed to sit on and do a series of sitting stretches.  I use Jennifer Kreis’s Hot Body, Cool Mind sitting series designed to wake up every joint and gently stretch every muscle.  I have been using this DVD and this particular segment for so many years that I have the moves memorized.  I think my immune system is greatly supported by the lymphatic thumping at the head, neck, inner elbow and underarms, chest, stomach and groin, then down the spine.  The same DVD has a standing chi gong segment, plus a Pilates routine (too rigorous for most of us dealing with spinal issues), a simple yoga routine I love following, and several other segments.  You certainly get your money’s worth when you buy this DVD.  My grandchildren think this little routine of mine at the corner of the bed is hilarious and they have teased me about it months after our trips together.  By the way if you are interested in the pictures from these trips, go to www.betsystrips.shutterfly.com.  Enjoy.

For those overnight flights getting to your destination between 6 and 9 in the morning, the best antidote to jet lag is outdoor walking.  Arriving in Ireland with May, and in Scotland with Danny and Carsten, we set out walking the town, the countryside, the castle grounds (save serious tourist investigation for later when you are rested).  Keep moving.  Stop for a snack when needed.  Tea helps.  When you check in to your hotel, maybe 30 minutes flat, but avoid a deep sleep.  Walk to a place for supper and then go to bed.  You will wake up remarkably rested and in tune with the new time zone.  Once traveling to India, I walked my legs off all day long in Bombay, now Mumbai.  There was no where to sit down, the parks occupied by homeless.  I knocked on the door of a church and asked if I could sit for a little while.  A little later I joined at lot of office workers in a cafeteria style restaurant, sitting at a long table and listening to their chatter.  I’ve never felt unsafe.  People are nice the world over.  As someone said, there are only 10 bad people in the world; they just move around a lot.

I carry a back pack instead of a purse.  This was recommended to me by my chiropractor years ago.  I know it’s hard to fashionable, but they make some really cute back packs these days.  When traveling, keep your eyes wide open and aware at all times, and pull that pack around in front to hug next to your chest at the slightest hint of crowded conditions or motor scooters approaching too close.  Never leave it hanging on the back of a chair.

My really important stuff, i.e.  money and passport, plane tickets, URail pass, CC and Drivers License, are always in a money belt.  If you haven’t heard of him,

Rick Steves, Europe Through the Back Door, is a travel guru and his store in Edmonds, WA (and on line) sells the most comfortable money belts ever made.  The material handles sweaty Latin American, Asian and African climates and there is a plastic lining to keep your documents and money from getting wet from your dripping sweat.

I just heard a story yesterday at our Nicaragua orientation about a woman whose back pack with her money in an outside pocket was on top of the bus transporting them to their next home stay.  A sudden down pour soaked her pack and her money was ruined.  USA dollars with a black bleed from a notebook making every bill’s denomination indistinguishable.  Keep your money in your money belt inside the plastic liner.   Put in on with your underpants every morning.  Loose change for the day’s expense can live in your pants pocket in a small purse.

Personally, I think the stress of travel can increase your arthritis twinges.  The money belt wearing practice and the back pack for your sun screen, water bottle, camera, notebook and guide book, can smooth out your day and reduce stress.  Keep your pain-reducing supplements or medicines for the day, plus your supplements for the next meal and a couple meal bars or snack bars in the back pack as well.

One last tip:  when walking, a brisk pace will keep your back healthier.  The museum walk is lethal.  I remind myself to pull up the pelvic floor while staring at a painting or waiting in line, a kegel exercise.  Straighten your shoulders and let your skeleton drop from the base of the skull.  You will fatigue much more slowly.  Take tea breaks to rest.  If it gets too bad, hang upside down.  Here I am doing that in Montreal.  My grandson hid when some other tourist came by.  Ah, youth.  They will have arthritis someday and perhaps he’ll remember his silly grandma.

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving.

Betsy

Betsy Bell’s Healt4u

206 933 1889

www.HiHoHealth dot com

Speaking of weight

Dear Reader,

Have  you sat with your plans for the New Year and included weight management?  If you are suffering from arthritis pain and stiffness, and you are even 15 pounds over-weight, your plans will turn out better if they include weight management.  The bloggers are full of advice on this topic.  I would like to share some new research with you that may help you realize just how challenging it is to establish a new “normal” weight.  You may forgive yourself for all that struggle without permanent results.  You may decide to figure out what you must do to change your own future, a daunting but not impossible task.

Take heart.  There may be an explanation for why we get stuck at certain weight.

In a recent study, scientists discovered a change in the appetite regulator in the brain that interferes with our internal conversation

about what to eat when.  Apparently the hypothalamus gets inflammed when a person eats a fatty meal (fried clams, fudge, ice cream, cheese cake, sugar cookies, onion rings, you know, fried foods and buttery sweets).  It takes a few days for the repair mechanism of a normal healthy body to quiet down this inflammation and restore the hypothalamus to its regulating job.  Repeatedly eating a high fat diet day after day interferes with the body’s ability to repair the organ that helps us say ‘no’ to weight gaining foods.  If we do manage to stop eating them as we try to lose all the weight we put on while the hypothalamus wasn’t helping, it is extremely difficult.  We just can not hit the re-set button.  The mechanism is broken.The study is reported here.  http://www.gpb.org/news/2011/12/28/could

-obesity-change-the-brain

The actual published abstract is here http://www.jci.org/articles/view/59660?search%5barticle_text%5d=obesity+&search%5bauthors_text%5d=schwartz

You may have seen Carol Ostrom’s report in the Seattle Times on 12/30. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017122171_brain30m.html

Scientific discoveries like this tend to make the obese shake their heads grimly and say “no wonder it is so hard to loss 10 lbs. and have that be my new ‘high'”.  Their brain is urging them toward the old higher set point.  More research needs to be done.  An MRI scan of the brains of 34 obese individuals tells us there is inflammation there, but leaves a lot of questions.  While they are rare, some people who drop 15 to 100 pounds are able to maintain their weight loss for years.  In my own case, I spent eight years with a psychotherapist dealing with childhood issues, and at the end of that time I was no longer uncontrollably tempted by cookies in the house.  I’ve been at my healthy body weight for a while now after many years of yo-yo diet struggle. There was a time when I couldn’t bring a box of cookies in the house and I certainly never baked them.  I would plan my behavior carefully before attending a stand up party with hors d’oeuvres and deserts. I still eat a healthy protein snack before going to a stand up party.  If I put on 3 to 4 pounds during the vacation, I drop it easily.  Did my hypothalamus recover and establish a new, lower set-point?  Could yours do the same thing?

When I first went into business as a wellness adviser, I held weight management classes in my home.  The attendees came at lunch time for 8 weeks.  I prepared healthy food, taught them about the way our body handles sugars, how the pancreas reacts to coffee/black tea/cola drinks all day long and how to recover from exercise so they could get up and do it again the next day.  I taught them how to prepare and carry healthy snacks, introduced them to thin slices of jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, and bean sprouts.  They learned about alternatives to wheat flour: rice bread, soba and rice noodles, rye breads, breakfast cereal of cooked rye, barley and oat flakes.  Today the stores are full of gluten free foods.

My students fell into two groups:  people whose metabolism had slowed down as they aged and one day they realized they had gained 15 pounds and needed some help to change their eating and exercise habits; people who had put on a lot of weight over the years and developed a real love/hate relationship with food. Learning these tools helped this second group, but did not guarantee permanent weight loss.  Both groups found the extra weight caused creaky joins and discomfort.  The first group relieved their arthritis pain considerably by following the dietary suggestions and moving more.  The second group were discouraged.  I was discouraged that I couldn’t seem to help them.

If you are in this second group and suffer from a chronic over-weight dieting cycle and you feel this weight is causing or increasing your arthritis pain, take heart from this new study. Inflammation is real.  It is present whenever there is disease.  The immune system can repair inflammation and does so every moment of every day.  Perhaps, with careful healthy eating, even the hypothalamus can be repaired.
I take a lot of food supplements manufactured by the Shaklee Corporation.  They have helped my body repair tissue damaged by inflammation.  Food alone could not do the job for me.  After reading this study, I wonder if 10 years of daily intake of extra nutrients provided by the Shaklee Wellness Program actually repaired the hypothalamus. I don’t think it can be done in 6 months or even 2 years.  A long term approach is necessary.  Perhaps you need the help of a top quality line of food supplements to pour massive amounts of nutrients into your damaged body.  If you would like to learn more about the weight management program Shaklee has to offer, please email or call me.  betsy@HiHoHealth.com or 206 933 1889.  Wordpress doesn’t allow me to put an active link to my shopping website.  I prefer to discuss these nutritional issues with you first anyway. So be in touch.

Be Well, Do Well, and Keep Moving.

Betsy

Watch for a review of an independent study showing how resveratrol and polyphenols can literally stop this inflammation process at the cellular level.  I will present this information in my next blog.

BTW here is an interesting blog on weight management.  I pass it along to you.  http://kirbsfitness.wordpress.com/

Pain free flying

Avoiding increased pain when on vacation.

This is the first of a series of posts on staying pain free while traveling.

I just spent 10 days in Mexico with 4 friends, enjoying my time share and a few extra days in Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of the Yucatan as 25 minute ferry ride from Cancun.  It was wonderful.  I had my herbal pain killers at the ready, and took a couple every 4 -5 hours.

Plane rides are the worst for osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis and the 4 plus hours from Seattle to Houston were challenging. I am reminded of the many long plane rides I have taken and the technique I have learned for staying comfortable.

Back in 1992, right after my husband died, I took a trip to San Francisco for some R & R.  We sat in the plane on the runway for 6 hours waiting for the fog to clear in SF so we could leave Seattle and land 2 1/2 hours later.  If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that the traumatic injury to my L5 happened only 3 years earlier, and while I had rehabilitated enough to do 3/4 of the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in 1990, I was still at risk.  Slouching in a chair, especially an airplane seat, is the worse possible thing to do for a potentially unstable back.  As Moshe Feldenkrais would say, you are either sitting (sits bones directly under your erect back) or you are lying down (any tilted back position on down to prone).  I was lying down in the most unsupported manner.  When we finally landed in San Francisco, I could hardly walk.  My left leg had extreme sciatica pain from the pinching at L5.  What I learned from that experience has saved me from ever repeating it.  It may help you.

I drink a lot of water and a rehydrating drink called Performance which I carry in a zip lock bag and mix with the water they offer, or in the bottle I carry on.  Do you know that you lose a cup of water every hour you are in the air?  You do not excrete only water, but minerals that you must have for proper balance in your system.  These are the electrolytes you add with a high quality hydrating drink like Performance.  (If you want to know more about the products I mention, go to www.HiHoHealth dot com.)

Drinking a lot forces me to get up and down to use the rest room.  Moving prevents prolonged slouching from setting in.  While sitting, I do isometric exercises.  I seldom tilt my chair back but try to stay upright.  On long flights to Asia and Africa, the TV monitor w shows isometric exercises that are helpful.  Here are several that I have used.

Isometric Leg Exercises

Isometric exercises are an effective way to exercise during a flight. Also called static tension, isometric exercise involves a contraction of a muscle without a change in the length of the muscle. Bodybuilding.com recommends doing an isometric thigh exercise while sitting on your seat. Make a fist with your hands and place them under your knees. Squeeze your thigh and calve “around” your fist, and hold for five to 10 seconds.

 

Knee Exercises

Knee flexions and extensions are other simple exercises to do during your flight. Knee flexion involves lifting your knee toward your chest while sitting on your seat with your back against the back rest. Lower your leg, and repeat with the opposite leg. Knee extension involves straightening your leg as far as you can while sitting with your back against the rest. This is crazy making in steerage where I sit.  Do these exercises as many times as desired.

Calf Exercises

Deep vein clots are common in the lower leg or thigh, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Improve the blood flow in your lower leg by contracting your muscles. To do a calf raise, place your tiptoes on the floor. Thrust your heels upward as high as you can until you feel a contraction in your calves. Hold for five to 10 seconds, and lower your heals, or repeat continuously with a pumping motion. Repeat as often as you can to improve blood flow in your veins. This is a really good one.

 Arms

Exercise your arms with a wrist roller workout. Cross your fingers and do a rolling motion with your wrists for 10 to 20 seconds. Improve blood flow in your arms by making a fist with each hand and flexing your forearms toward the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat. Optionally, raise your fists toward your chest and down to your thighs for 10 to 20 times to also target your biceps.

Shoulders and Chest

Shoulder shrugs are a way to relieve tension in your upper body. Hold the shrug for 10 seconds and release. Exercise both the chest and shoulders by doing a rope climb. Imagine a rope hanging over your head, and “grasp” it with your hands as to climb it. With each motion, reach from over your head and pull down until your arms touch your thighs. Repeat 20 times with each hand.

Back and Abs

Stretch your back by bending at your waist until your chest reaches your upper thighs. Hold for a few seconds and slowly return to an upright position. Keep your back straight throughout the stretch. Target your abdominal muscles sitting upright and exhaling completely. Without inhaling, suck in your stomach as deeply as you can and hold for few seconds. Release and repeat.

 

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/532387-seated-exercises-to-prevent-dvts/#ixzz1h1GMalQ5

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/460480-leg-exercises-for-while-you-are-in-flight/#ixzz1h1ExSucs

Do not worry about what other people think.  After all, your body needs this and their bodies could probably use it to.  You might have the whole row exercising.  You will have much less jet lag and arrive ready to walk and pull your suit case.

I would love to hear your techniques for keeping aches and pains under control while flying.  Next week I will share my away-from-home morning routine before setting off for a day of site seeing.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving.

Betsy

www.HiHoHealth dot com

I need a doctor! What kind?

Gentle Reader,

If you suffered trauma to your back, perhaps you would turn to a traditional medical practitioner. An orthopedist, a neurologist, at least your primary care physician. Surely, a medical problem like an excruciating pain in the lower back and the inability to walk unaided would send one to a regular doctor. I chose a chiropractor. Let me explain.

I grew up in a medical household. My father was an orthopedic surgeon and my mother, a nurse. After the Second World War, my father relocated us New York City people to Oklahoma. He wanted to start fresh and chose to do a year of specialty study with his fellow Naval officer, a professor at the University of Oklahoma Medical School. I was 10 years old when we moved to Muskogee, OK. It was 1947, only 40 years since statehood. The leading bone doctor in town had established himself during Indian Territory days.

I spent my summer evenings with my father, sitting on the hood of our station wagon watching rodeo riders crashing off bulls into the dust; stock car race drivers roaring into the barricades and each other; football players carried off on stretchers. He was waiting for the next injury, getting his Bone and Joint practice going. Youthful bodies he could put back together. A bone carpenter at work.

Back trouble was another thing. “People with back aches are no good malingering bums,” he would say. I now had back pain, unbelievably debilitating. As a high school student, I scrubbed in with him as he performed lumbar laminectomy surgery. I heard the stories of lengthy rehabilitation, set backs, never working again. Was my youthful athleticism going to end at age 42?

Our family lives in Seattle. I worked for a multi-national telecommunication company in outside sales. The office talk about stress often included reference to a chiropractor and the help she gives to tense neck and back pain. Three years earlier, on the eve of my daughter’s wedding, she woke up with a neck so tense she could not move it from side to side. On the advice of my co-workers, I decided to take her to a chiropractor. I embarrassed my daughter by grilling the doctor about the treatment she was about to perform. I could hear my father’s voice “charlatan, fraud” ringing in my ears. I was terrified. In 1986 neither Wikipedia, nor Google search engine was available. I wanted to learn more about the practice of chiropractic medicine. Briefly, chiropractic emphasizes diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. The hands-on manipulation of my daughter’s neck was successful.

The day after my angry early morning exercise session with Jack LaLanne and horrendous thrust of disc into the spinal nerve, Don drove me to my chiropractor. I knew her through my business-networking group. She had never treated me, but many in the group said wonderful things about her. The massage therapist who helped calm my muscles and spasms enough so I could get out of bed and into a car, referred clients to her. That visit and several more got me on my feet again.

Next steps: my chiropractor sent me to a physical therapist and to the leading sports medicine neurologist for the University of Washington Huskies. The physical therapist wired my thigh muscles, put me on a stationery bike and measured the power output. The left side functioned at about 75% capacity compared to the right. I had no reflex when they tapped below the left kneecap. The nerve down the shin was dead. No movement was comfortable, fluid, exhilarating. Were my running days over? Would I head for the mountains with a pack on my back again? What about the trip my daughters and I dreamed of, circumnavigating Mt. Rainier, the 95-mile Wonderland Trail?

Looking at my MRI results, my neurologist said my bones were not strong enough or dense enough for a laminectomy to be helpful. I had to build a strong structure of muscles to support the weaker skeletal frame. He suggested Feldenkrais.

What is Feldenkrais? Stay tuned for the process that taught me how to lie, sit, stand, walk and transition in and out of each of these positions and actions.

Tell me about your encounters with chiropractors? How did you come to embrace alternative medical practices? If you have not tried alternative healing methods, why not? Until next week,

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving!

Betsy

BetsyBell’s Health4U
206 933 1889
http://www.HiHohealth.com
http://www.TiredNoMore.com

Traumatic injury: my story

Hello, Gentle Reader,

In 1989, I lifted, or should I more accurately say, yanked a large drink box full of wine bottles out of the back seat of a two door Datsun.  I heard something go in my lower back.  I was angry about carrying these bottles up a long flight of stairs to the social hall of a large church.  My husband in his characteristic generosity offered to cook an elegant meal for a visiting prelate from the Russian Orthodox church inMoscow.  While I approved a grand reception for this honored guest and his entourage, I criticized my husband for trying to do this alone.  Plenty of people would love to cook with Don Bell.  My only task was delivering the drink.

I could feel the place in my back where the terrible sensation had come from.  I carried the box and several more like it upstairs anyway.

The next morning, I awoke early, still smoldering over the piles of potato skins on the kitchen counter and the olive oil slick floor, remnants of the single-handed cooking effort the night before.  Jack LaLanne was just beginning his exercise routine on TV.  I took my position on the large expanse of our hook-latched rug covering the living room floor.  I would work out my anger through exercise.  On all fours, he called out doggie leg lifts.  Snap.

Whatever happened lifting the box, leg lifts finished me off.  I rolled on the floor sobbing in pain.  All my previous judgments against people who complained of bad backs taunted me.  Pay back for lack of understanding and sympathy.   Those legions who suffered, did they suffer as I was now suffering?  Were they not the malingering lazy bums I judged them to be?  What was I going to do?

I could not stand or sit but remained on all fours.  I slowly in extreme pain pulled myself to the staircase and up to our bedroom where Don still lay sleeping.  Once I struggled into bed and lay on my back, I began to breathe more deeply.  I went into head honcho mode commanding my groggy husband to get my day planner and find the phone number of my massage therapist.  It was 7 a.m.

This amazing person came over two hours later.  Don had already gotten me a 24-inch bolster cushion so my legs were in a chair position while lying flat on my back.  This was the only pain free position I could find.  Mary worked on me for over an hour, calming the sympathetic spasms in my shoulders, neck, upper back and arms.  She persuaded me against my wishes to take a muscle relaxant.  She came back twelve hours later and repeated the treatment.

The next morning I was able to inch my way painfully down the stairs and into the car.  Ouch.  That move brought tears to my eyes.  Don drove me to my chiropractor who gently calmed the spinal column and relocated the offending L5 into its proper place.

I was 52 years old.  A skier, hiker, biker, dancer, runner, I valued physical fitness next to Godliness.  More than Godliness.  I was determined to overcome this glitch.  Little did I know what was in store for me as I set about healing from an L5 herniation.

Tell me your story.  How did your back begin to hurt?  What makes you worry about ending up in a wheel chair?  How did arthritis begin and where has it taken you?

My story of treatment and recovery continues next week.  Stay tuned.

Betsy Bell

Betsy Bell’s Health4U

4455 51st Ave. SW

Seattle,WA98116

206 933 1889

www.TiredNoMore.com